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Published: Wednesday, 5/4/2005

Council vote offers city water to 150 homes in west Lucas County

More than 150 homeowners in western Lucas County could soon have the opportunity to tap into city water lines, following Toledo City Council action last night.

Council voted 10-1 to expand the Lucas County water district to provide service to residences just outside existing boundaries.

Also last night, council introduced a new assistant clerk of council: Steve Fought, a former top staffer of U.S. Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D., Toledo). Mr. Fought, 50, started in his $62,500-a-year job Monday.

District 2 Councilman Rob Ludeman cast the no vote on the water district expansion. Council President Louis Escobar was absent.

The existing water service boundaries, established in 1983, follow the centerline of roads in the western part of the county, leaving houses on one side of the roads unable to connect to the water line.

The revised agreement allows single-family homes within 200 feet of the water line to tap in. It also extends the existing agreement by 10 years, from 2014 to 2024. The changes affect 255 parcels, including 162 homes, and Secor Metropark.

Mr. Ludeman said the city still hasn't solved low water pressure affecting some of his constituents in the Reynolds Corners area.

He also contended that the agreement will allow for new "sprawl" development in the western county.

Councilman Frank Szollosi disagreed, saying the agreement was crafted strictly by "smart growth" principles.

"That's a real important regionalism issue," Mr. Szollosi said.

Robert Stevenson, director of the city's Department of Public Utilities, said the agreement still has to be voted on by the Lucas County commissioners.

In a related water issue, council voted 11-0 to spend $8.7 million from the water replacement fund to install a new 72-inch water line from East Toledo to South Toledo.

The line will extend from a 96-inch main at Ravine Park nine miles south to the Ohio Turnpike Bridge, where it will go under the Maumee River, to connect with mains at the Anthony Wayne Trail and Penrose Court.

Mr. Stevenson said the new line will increase the system's capacity for serving the south and west parts of the city.

The appointment of Mr. Fought is seen as filling a gap created by the departure of former Clerk of Council Michael Beazley, who was appointed Lucas County administrator in January.

Mr. Fought reports to Clerk of Council Gerald Dendinger, but council members say he will be the liaison with Mayor Jack Ford and his staff and the county.

"He'll fill a role similar to the role Mike Beazley filled," Mr. Kapszukiewicz said, referring to Mr. Beazley's knowledge of local and national politics and wide range of contacts.

Mr. Fought who grew up in Mercer County, Ohio, has been Miss Kaptur's legislative director in Washington for four years.

He was legislative director for U.S. Rep. Sherrod Brown (D., Lorain), and previously had worked for state agencies in Columbus as a communications director. He was an editor and reporter for the Daily Standard in Celina, Ohio, from 1975 to 1983, before going to the University of Cincinnati for a law degree.

Mr. Fought said he wanted to move back to Ohio.

"I fell in love with Toledo working for Marcy. I want to be part of the whole effort to help Toledo grow and create jobs," he said.

Mr. Kapszukiewicz said the appointment puts council's staff at 12 - down from 15 positions a year ago.



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